Image Credit : Lee, Kuo-Min



Project Overview

This project is situated on a small isle which is located only ten minutes from downtown. There are three individual houses made up of exposed concrete to be joined together as terraced houses. The northern side of this project fronts on a major road. The exterior shows the minimum visual effect and the interior remains an open, smooth, and cozy space for residents.

Project Commissioner

Mao, Shen-Chiang Architecture Studio

Project Creator

Mao, Shen-Chiang Architecture Studio

Project Brief

The site is in a small, peaceful, and quiet fishing village, and surrounded by traditional brick houses. It's a five-minute walk to the beach, and a ten-minute drive to the city.

This project is a terraced house built up from exposed concrete. In terms of the design approach, the architect gradually shrinks each floor to retain the space between the housing and the major road. This method reduces its presence from the main building on the road surface. When people pass by this building, they will not feel that their walking space is congested because of the height of the building.

The space adjacent to the main road maintains a long courtyard with a two-story high wall. Also, each courtyard grows a four-story high tree to maintain privacy. Yet, it still has an open and comfortable living space, so every window on each floor builds up natural scenery.

This project shows two characteristics. Firstly, the interior flow links and organizes the various spaces to make it smoother. Secondly, focusing on the materials, the texture of exposed concrete and various wood materials show the inherent qualities to convey a peaceful feeling for people. Also, a building made by high-quality exposed concrete can be inherited to the next generation and wood is a renewable material. Thus, these materials greatly reduce its environmental impact.

Project Innovation/Need

Although this small island is only ten minutes away from downtown, it has been in decline for a long time. So, only a few older people live here, most youngsters choose to live in the city. The architect has attempted to introduce another material and architectural type to attract young people’s attention, simultaneously activating the environment. This process has increased the possibility for the young generation to live in the place. Also, the activities surrounding this area have been held by some people who love this type of building.

Design Challenge

It is not common to promote buildings completely made from exposed concrete because of the cost. In the past, when the formwork was removed, most wooden boards could not be used because of damage. So, these boards were finally disposed of via incineration. The architect gave up on using traditional formwork, horizontal six-hole wooden panel (size 90 by 180) and cut the old formwork to be a vertical three-hole wooden panel (size 60 by 180). The advantage is that it decreases the loss rate of the formwork, these boards can also be reused more than two times as well.

Therefore, the percentage for the usage of the recycled formwork in this project is above 75%. It also reduces the construction loss rate and construction cost. This change makes buildings made of exposed concrete become viable on a lower budget.


In the past, most residential projects had to rely on many decorative materials, such as paint, tiles, brick, or a large amount of stone. Therefore, this case considers how to reduce the impact on the environment based on the nature of the material and the manufacturing process.

As Adolf Loos once said, " The old love of ornament must be replaced by the love of material itself." So, the architect chose exposed concrete as the main material in this case. The durable property and diversified applications of this material make it widely used in architecture. However, in Taiwan, because of cost, exposed concrete is not easy to be used in general residences. Even if it is used, it is primarily utilized for decorative elements. Hence, architects have tried to improve the production process to reduce costs and increase the popularity of this material in Taiwan.

The material has unique structural properties and inherent green material characteristics, such as reduced reuse of energy, high energy saving, low maintenance requirements and high durability. In addition, most interior elements are made of wood, because wood is a renewable resource, it is considered sustainable. Therefore, this case tends to be a building that can be used for the next generation, unlike many buildings that have a short durability.

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow.
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